I recently bought the smaller of two bags of potato chips, even though they were pretty close in price. The larger bag would have been the better deal.
Why did I buy the small bag? Simple. I didn't want to eat all the chips in the larger bag.
Oh, sure, in theory, I could have stopped at the halfway point of the larger bag and saved the rest for later.
But if you know me, you know history has shown that I don't do that. I should*, but I don't. I'd even argue I can't.
All the rational thinking in the world doesn't help much when I'm smelling fresh, crispy potato chips. The crinkle of the bag. The salt on my tongue. There's a reason Lay's uses "Betcha can't eat just one" as a marketing tagline.
So I set myself up for success by choosing the smaller portion. When I finished my small bag chips, I was happier than I would have been after eating the large bag.
One of the first things dog trainers learn is that many undesirable behaviors are easier to prevent than to retrain.
The same holds true for human behaviors.
Humans pride ourselves on our big brains that allow us to behave rationally. Yet time after time, we go to our default patterns.
What do you do after work? How do you unwind? What do you eat for breakfast? What route do you drive to get to the grocery store?
It's likely that you have default answers for those behaviors and many, many others.
Leslie Sinn, DVM, DACVB, offered some eye-opening insights into why we rely on our default patterns.
And then she shared some awesome strategies for changing our defaults.
This requires some honest introspection and thoughtful planning.
But who has time for that?
You do. I do. We all do. When we carve that time out and make it a practice. And that happens by taking baby steps toward the goal.
And, as all good dog trainers know, the steps for successfully changing behavior will vary from individual to individual.
There's nothing more annoying that having people tell you, "Just follow these five simple steps." Invariably, one or more of the steps doesn't work for you the way it worked for them.
The key is to find the strategies that work best for YOU. I love helping people figure that out.
Once you've set yourself up for success, you'll have more time and energy for the things that are personally meaningful to you.